Christmas comes but once a year, and it's so frenzied one forgets to actually write that actual thing one wants to tell the blogosphere. So here we are creeping up on February, but I still have something to say about the long past (or so it seems) holiday season.
Of the years I have spent living away from the nest, I have had three Christmases where I have "lived away from home", and by that I mean three Christmases where I pack a suitcase and go to my family for Christmas rather than already living where everyone gathers. The first one I had just moved out a month ago and only lived five minutes away. The second was after I came up north, and I reasoned that as a working adult, I should get a Christmas tree of my very own, even if I was going south for all my time off. Naturally I procrastinated the idea until my then roommate unpacked her fake tree.
This year was going to be different. Not only did no one at my house have an easy to assemble tree sitting in a box somewhere, but I was determined. Christmas could not be Christmas without a tree to welcome me home each evening and curl up to with my oatmeal and stare at the lights each morning, and why have a manmade tree when you can have the real thing in your living room? In November I announced to my roommates (and everyone else) that I wanted a tree for the holidays. I even had a tree stand and a box of shatterproof ornaments ready to go.
I was met with small enthusiasm and plenty of questions. Weren't trees awfully expensive? Why did I want a real tree? Wasn't that a lot more work? Who would take care of the tree? Wasn't I planning to go to Fairmont for a week at Christmas anyways? What was the point of having a tree if none of us would be in town for Christmas anyway?
Well, because Christmas is more than one day of course!
Nevertheless, the constant comments from nearly everyone I mentioned it to began to wear me down. Why did I need a tree for Christmas? It certainly wasn't practical. Utterly despondent, I got on the phone to my sister, Neen. She is practical to a fault, and decorated a potted plant to put her presents under, so while she may not appear to be the best person to discuss such a concern with, she knows me well enough her response was that I should be my wonderfully impractical, romantic self and go get myself a fabulous tree because I want it.
I drive to the tree lot with a sense of empowerment and find a beautiful six foot Douglas fir for twenty-five dollars. As I carry it to my car, I giggle to myself. I bought my own Christmas tree! Look at me!
I sing "O Tannenbaum" the whole way home.
I decorate my tree with balls, curled ribbon, and dollar store lights. I improvise a tree skirt with a spare sheet and golden scarf. My roommates join and we all have a terrific time.
The morning after it's first decorated, I wake up and spend the early morning doing my writing my the light of my tree, my very first tree. This prickly, cumbersome, shedding ornament continues to make my little apartment and magical Christmas land until the end of December.
To some people, it still appears an unnecessary expense. Why do I need a Christmas tree? There's no practical reason for them. Because they make me happy, and what is Christmas if not a season of joy?
That seems practical enough.